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Alaska's Arctic Refuge: Caribou Migration Basecamp
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Alaska's Arctic Refuge: Caribou Migration Basecamp

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 6 - 8 day(s)
Group Size: 3 - 6 people
Destination(s): Alaska  
Specialty Categories: Hiking & Trekking   Photography and Videography  
Season: June - July
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: Yes
Minimum Per Person Price: 3550 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 3550 US Dollar (USD)

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, largest and farthest north refuge in the U.S., contains the complete spectrum of arctic habitats, from boreal forests, glacier-carved valleys, glaciated peaks, crystal-clear rivers to the vast rolling coastal plain, and the barrier islands of the Beaufort Sea. In its 19-million acres, the Brooks Range rises dramatically, just 10 to 40 miles from the Arctic Ocean. We see wildlife populations in their natural setting - musk oxen, wolves, grizzly bears, polar bears, wolverines, Dall sheep, moose, arctic foxes, and the 129,000-strong Porcupine caribou herd.

Spring Caribou migration hiking, Photography and Natural history. Arctic National Wildlife Refuge - 8 days, including 2 nights inn lodging.

In early June, the tundra bursts with life, as wildflowers bloom and birds wing in from 5 continents to nest. Observe the great Porcupine caribou herd close up, as the animals flow like a geological force across the land, hooves etching trails as far as the eye can see. In spring, the animals are shedding their winter coats, and reveling in this time of mosquito-free living. Landing near the confluence of rivers and streams in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, we set up a base camp from which to explore. Our tiny tents blend into the landscape, and we take long hikes in the hills and valleys, hoping for encounters with caribou, wolves, grizzly bears, and foxes.

This expedition offers great flexibility in terms of interests you’d like to pursue, and even our exact destination. We’ll visit a small Gwich ‘in village enroute to the Arctic Refuge, then fly by small bush plane to a remote location along the migration route for the caribou. Surrounded by magnificent scenery, you set the pace for your enjoyment.

Fall Caribou Migration Photography and Natural History. Gates of the Arctic National Park. Trip Length: 7 days

When autumn arrives in the Arctic, the land transforms into a kaleidoscope of red, gold, orange, purple, and green. Photographers can hardly sleep this time of the year, as there is so much to focus the lens upon. The macro lens is busy on the tiny details of tundra, while the telephoto focuses on wildlife moving conspicuously through the landscape - caribou, having shed their velvet, migrate southward, moose go into rut, grizzly forage on plump ground squirrels and blueberries, Dall sheep move in scattered groups over precipitous crags.

Our fall basecamp comes at a time when the Western Arctic caribou herd, stately in their thick coats, have fattened up for the long winter. “Night” has just begun to return to the north, and on clear nights, we may see the aurora borealis dance across the sky. With the help of a competent bush pilot, we place ourselves along the southward migration route of the herd, and we experience firsthand the pulse of life in the north. With luck, we see bands of caribou stream through the valleys. The terrain offers unlimited opportunities for hiking. Surrounded by magnificent scenery, you set the pace for your enjoyment, whether it be hiking, photography, wildlife observation, or simply enjoying the peace and silence of a truly wild place. This expedition takes us to the Frontier settlement of Bettles, above the Arctic Circle.

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1: Trip participants meet in the early morning at the small airport in Fairbanks, where we pack all our gear onto a small commercial plane and fly 100 miles north, over the Steese and White Mountains and the Yukon River to Arctic Village, a small Gwich'in settlement (100 people) situated on the banks of the Chandalar River on the 1.8 million-acreVenetie Indian Indian Reserve. Arctic Village is 118 miles northeast of the Arctic Circle on the southern border of the Arctic Refuge. The village offers an educational cultural experience. We'll meet our bush pilot here. By afternoon , we fly over the Brooks Range, an adventure in itself; miles and miles of mountains rise below us as we fly over the Continental Divide towards the Arctic Ocean. By afternoon, we should be deep in the heart of the Arctic Refuge. Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Day 2: Days 2-4 or 2-6: Each day we'll establish a rhythm of eating, hiking, relaxing. You set the pace for your enjoyment. If we're lucky, bands of caribou will be our constant companions, as they migrate across the tundra. Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Day 3: Hiking and photography. Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Day 4: Hiking and photography. Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Day 5: Hiking and photography. Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Day 6: Hiking and photography. From our camp, we're picked up by our bush pilot and flown back to Arctic Village. Then we catch a small commercial flight back to Fairbanks. Includes: (B), (L).

Airfare is not included in the tour price.

(8 days, $3550) from Fairbanks (includes 2 nights accommodations in Fairbanks).

Price Includes:
- All transportation beyond Fairbanks
- 2 nights hotel and 5 nights camping
- All meals in the field
- Group cooking, camping, medical and safety equipment (We bring such items as a kitchen shelter, emergency radio, satellite phone, bear repellent spray, firearm, water filter and first aid kit)
- Expert leadership.

Price Excludes:
- Extra meals you might choose to purchase in a town or village while we are awaiting air transport
- Sleeping bag and pad, and personal equipment
- Excess baggage charges
- Guide gratuity.

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